Thu, 30 Nov 2023

MADRID, Sept. 18 (Xinhua) -- La Liga returned to action this weekend in Spain after the international break. Here are some things we learned from the return of domestic football.

1. The 'Joaos' make a good impression

Neither Joao Felix nor Joao Cancelo have enjoyed recent times, facing challenging loan stints from Atletico Madrid and Bayern Munich respectively. However, the Portuguese pair seems rejuvenated at Barcelona. Joao Felix, despite his undeniable skill, often seemed at odds with Diego Simeone's expectations at Atletico Madrid and has openly expressed his desire to play for Barca. He made an immediate impact, scoring the first goal against Betis on Saturday, potentially offering both goals and assists for Xavi Hernandez's team. Cancelo, on the other hand, was consistently threatening down the right, capping off the 5-0 victory. He appears ready to provide the balance between offense and defense that his predecessors couldn't.

2. Joselu doing the job for Real Madrid

While Joselu's style starkly contrasts with Karim Benzema's, his decisive goal against Real Sociedad on Sunday night underscores why Real Madrid was eager to re-sign him this summer. A quintessential striker, Joselu has a knack for being in the right place at the right time. His track record with Alaves and Espanyol in La Liga suggests he'll capitalize on opportunities. Real Sociedad, despite their loss, showcased potential for another top-four finish this season, building on their fourth-place achievement last year.

3. Atletico raise doubts while youngsters raise Valencia's hopes

Diego Simeone, Atletico Madrid's coach, labeled the 3-0 loss to Valencia as perhaps the most dismal display during his nearly 12-year tenure. Valencia, led by young talents like Cristhain Mosquera, Pepelu, Fran Perez, and Javi Guerra, outplayed and outpaced Atletico. The only new face in Valencia's starting lineup was Sergi Canos, a former Brentford player. Yet, under coach Ruben Baraja, Valencia seems to be exceeding expectations. This loss for Atletico, however, casts a shadow over their title aspirations.

4. Rafa Benitez goal-line technology plea

Rafa Benitez, Celta Vigo's coach, was visibly upset after his team's 1-0 loss to Mallorca on Saturday. A seemingly valid goal by Jonathan Bamba was disallowed by the VAR, which determined the ball hadn't fully crossed the line. This decision reignited Benitez's call for goal-line technology in La Liga. While this technology has been a staple in other leagues for years, eliminating such controversies, its absence in Spain, despite the advanced camera systems and VAR, is puzzling.

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